Assessing the Risk of Antibiotic Resistance Transmission from the Environment to Humans: Non-Direct Proportionality between Abundance and Risk

Elsevier, Trends in Microbiology, Volume 25, 1 March 2017
Manaia C.M.
The past decade has witnessed a burst of study regarding antibiotic resistance in the environment, mainly in areas under anthropogenic influence. Therefore, impacts of the contaminant resistome, that is, those related to human activities, are now recognized. However, a key issue refers to the risk of transmission of resistance to humans, for which a quantitative model is urgently needed. This opinion paper makes an overview of some risk-determinant variables and raises questions regarding research needs. A major conclusion is that the risks of transmission of antibiotic resistance from the environment to humans must be managed under the precautionary principle, because it may be too late to act if we wait until we have concrete risk values.